What I’m Loving Wednesday

1. Chipotle has finally arrived in the Lowcountry! Charleston’s first Chipotle opened recently right by Greg’s office and the second is apparently coming in the fall and will be even more convenient for me.

Greg only worked a half-day on Memorial Day, while I had to work the whole day. He offered to meet me at home with Chipotle for lunch. Best lunchdate ever.

I had a veggie burrito bowl and loved every last bite.

2. Not quite on the same level as Chipotle, but this salad I made myself for lunch yesterday is delicious in its own right. Salads are so much more enjoyable when you have the right toppings. For me, that means: strawberries, goat cheese crumbles, avocado and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I also sliced some onion and zucchini for this one, but those are not required 🙂
3. Birthday celebrations! My friend and former college roommate Megan celebrated her birthday yesterday, as well as our other friend Clare. A big group of us went to Taco Boy for dinner and one of our friends even brought a funfetti cake for dessert! Love. Too bad I inhaled it without getting a picture.
(P.S. I didn’t even edit this picture or use Instagram…just the result of an iPhone picture taken with the flash in a dim restaurant)

4. Being engaged! Ab-so-lutely loving it. I started a Wedding Ideas board on Pinterest and started my wedding magazine collection yesterday. Figuring out a date is proving to be a little stressful, but once I can nail that down, the real fun will begin!
Tell me something YOU love today!
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A Caribbean Proposal

Hi friends! First of all, Happy Memorial Day! Having a brother who is currently in the Navy, plus my grandfathers, step dad, and other family members who have a history with the military, so this day means a lot to me. I am so proud of all they have done and still do to fight for our continued freedoms and safety. THANK YOU!

Greg and I returned home from vacation in St. Kitts late on Saturday night and spent yesterday relaxing with some friends by the pool, followed by a celebration dinner at Coleman Public House. Celebrating what?

OUR ENGAGEMENT!

Yes. It’s true. Greg proposed last week in St. Kitts and it was the perfect night. Here’s the story (warning, this is a long post!):

It was our first full day on the island. Remember, we were there with Greg’s parents, his two brothers, and their girlfriends. Greg suggested that we go out to dinner by ourselves that night. We had already found a restaurant called Spice Mill that we knew we wanted to try and I was all for going that night. Although I knew it was a nice restaurant, he was so low-key about the whole thing so I didn’t have any suspicions. I was even the one that ended up making the reservation that afternoon. 
We got a cab to drive us and was kind enough to stop along the way and take some pictures.

We were both surprised when we got to the restaurant and found we were the only ones there. So much for needing that reservation! 
Anyway, we ordered some mixed rum drinks from the beach bar then headed back up to our table to order dinner. Again, Greg was still acting completely normal and I didn’t think anything seemed out of the ordinary.

This is a food blog right? So here’s a quick look at the food 🙂 
Since I was on vacation in another country, I had known going into it that I may have to eat some meat throughout the week. I did, but I was also able to fit in a lot of plant-based foods too. More on that another day.
I had the Herb Roasted Pork Loin which came with sweet potato wedges and cheesy eggplant slices on the side. 

Love, love, loved this dish. The pork was so tender and the sides were delicious too. I was “mmmm”-ing with every bite. 
Greg had the Cajun Shrimp Pasta. The word “cajun” on a menu description is a sure sign Greg will like it. This case wasn’t any different. 

He was loving his dish too, and the bite I snagged gave my meal a run for its money. 
We finished our entrees and ordered a slice of key lime pie to split for dessert (unfortunately it was the tiniest slice ever and not worth the picture). After paying the bill, Greg got me up from my seat and lead me to the beach. 
They had some cabana/bed type things on the beach, right along the water. Greg told me to sit down and despite the padding on the bed being slightly damp, I did. He pulled out the ring which was still in the box and I started freaking out. He was just smiling, but I still didn’t know if I could believe what was about to happen. 
When he got on his knee and asked me, I was in tears. Of course I said yes and just stared at the ring he had put on my finger. 
We sat there a few minutes more while I asked him all of the questions running through my mind. Who knew about this?! How long have you had this?! Did you pick it out yourself?! What if we didn’t come to dinner by ourselves tonight, what were you going to do then?! I really could not believe it. 
Finally it was time to head back up to catch our cab. On our way out, we told our waitress what had happened and she was so excited for us. Just like our cab driver, she was kind enough to take a few pictures. Unfortunately, they all came out blurry. Yup, every single one of them.

So, the next day, we were at a beach right by the restaurant and walked back to “the scene of the crime” as Greg likes to call it 😉 Greg’s dad took clearer pictures of us, not quite as dressed up though.

Below is the beach bed where it happened. It was the most gorgeous view!

As soon as we got back to the resort that night, I quickly called my family. Being out of the country, our minutes were limited, but I wasn’t about to keep them waiting until I got back with this news! Turns out, Greg had called my dad the day before we left to ask him for permission. Besides that, Greg’s parents were the only others who knew what was coming to me that night.
Everything was so perfect. I couldn’t have imagined anything better. 
Now time to plan a wedding!!!

A Restaurant Review – Basil Mt. Pleasant

A few weeks ago, Greg and I went to dinner at Basil. The Thai restaurant has three locations: Downtown Charleston, Charlotte and the newest one in Mt. Pleasant. 
I have only ever heard good things about Basil, but am torn about my feelings toward it. 
The first time I went was several months ago with a group of coworkers. The Cashew Nuts entree was recommended to me so that’s what I chose. I remember really enjoying it and telling Greg we should go back together sometime. 
So we did. But unfortunately high expectations got the best of us.
We opted for a couple of drinks since we were in fact celebrating our four year anniversary. Although mojitos aren’t my favorite, Greg was intrigued and wanted to try the one on their specialty menu. Being a good girlfriend, I pretended like the girly cocktail was for me 😉 Turns out he didn’t like it, so it ended up being my drink anyway.

I knew I liked the Cashew Nuts from the first time I ate there, but wanted to give something else a try. I ordered the Vegetables Delight with tofu and mixed vegetables in soy sauce. 
Turns out, I don’t like tofu. 
The vegetables were decent, but overall this dish was bland and left a lot to be desired.

Greg had the Sweet and Sour with chicken mixed with onion, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomato, pineapple and scallions. He asked for the sauce to be made spicier than normal too, since he rarely has the problem of foods being too spicy. 
Cucumbers to Greg are like cupcakes to me. Okay, maybe not cupcakes, but apples. I looovvvvee apples and Greg looovvvvees cucumbers. But I have to say, I wasn’t surprised when he said the cucumbers were not a good fit for this dish. Onion, peppers and pineapple are great. But sweet and sour chicken can do without cucumber and tomatoes. 

Here I am sinking in my seat! We were sat right by the kitchen, with one seat in a booth and one in a stool. I jumped at the chance for the booth, was found it to sit very low. Or maybe the table was just too high. And I’m a tall girl soooo something needs to be adjusted there. I kept a smile nonetheless 🙂
Despite being less than impressed with the food, we still had a good time. However, I can’t see us returning in the near future. There are too many other places that have stolen our hearts, or places we still need to try! 
Basil on Urbanspoon

Guest Post – Christina’s Kitchen Essentials

While I am still away on vacation, my good blogger friend Christina agreed to help me out by writing a guest post for Counting My Cupcakes. Christina lives in Charleston too and writes Hungry Meets Healthy, a blog about food, fitness, and her fun life in general! She’s a great, entertaining writer, and her blog quickly became one of my favorites. I am so thankful she was able to contribute while I am away. Without further ado, here is Christina!

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Hi everyone! I’m Christina from Hungry Meets Healthy. I’m honored to say that our dear friend Brittany asked me to write a guest post for her while she is on vacation. I’m also a little jealous! I’ve been blogging and cooking for a few years, and thought I’d share with you my top kitchen essentials.

1. A food processor. Preferably one by Cuisinart or Kitchenaid. Both have been around for a while and have good reputations. Choosing between the two is just personal preference, much like choosing between a Nikon or Canon. Do your thing. I have the Kitchenaid 7-Cup food processor (Model # KFP715).



Some of my favorite things I make with my food processor are hummus,whipped banana “ice cream,” smoothies, and almond butter.



2. A Silpat non-stick bating mat.


The Silpat mat can be placed right over a pan before baking cookies or roasting veggies. Cookies slide right off and you don’t even have to use grease! I don’t know what I would do without this.


3. A good knife.



This past birthday I was given my first really good knife, a Shun Santoku knife. This baby is sharp. It cuts things so easily that I’m a bit intimidated using it.


4. A kitchen scale. 



I think that accurate ingredient measurements are essential for baked goods. Cookies too crumbly? You might be using too much flour. Cookies spreading too thin? You might not be using enough. With a scale, you’ll always have the correct amount of flour which will yield perfectly textured cookies, cakes, bread, and so on. I use the My Weigh KD7000.

It measures in pounds, ounces, grams, and kilograms. It has a removable stainless steel platform and it small enough to sit on your countertop without getting in the way.


5. A cute apron!



It’s important to a) look cute while you’re cooking and b) protect your regular clothing, even if it’s gym attire. Nikki gave me this Hungry Meets Healthy embroidered apron for my 26th birthday.

Bonus Item #1: A good friend to assist. 



Amanda enjoys cooking as much as I do, so she is always of great help in the kitchen. It’s more fun cooking with a friend because you can relish over the end product together!

Bonus Item #2: A good friend to provide the adult beverages.



Cooking is also much more fun when you have a friend with whom you can toast to life! Be careful not to drink too much during the process though – you want to remember what your dinner tastes like! 🙂




What are YOUR kitchen essentials?

Thanks for reading and feel free to check out my blog! 🙂

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Just because it’s the beginning of summertime doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy a little pumpkin in their life. It doesn’t have to be a strictly fall flavor, you know. 
All week I was planning on baking with Brooke during her and my mom’s short stay with us in Charleston. Then on Thursday, while I was waiting for them to arrive, I realized something. We weren’t actually going to have time to bake. I guess we could have squeezed it in if we really wanted, but I still had to work all day and pack for vacation, then we wanted to spend time out and about in Charleston too. So it just wasn’t going to happen. 
I figured that even though we couldn’t fit in sisterly baking time, we could still enjoy some homemade baked goods. I wanted to do something easy (what else is new) and found a bag of pumpkin pancake/muffin mix in the back of the pantry. I followed the directions on the back with a few minor tweaks and before I knew it, I had a batch of these babies!

Then I ate one or two while patiently waiting for my long lost sister to arrive. 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Adapted from recipe on pumpkin mix bag)
Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pumpkin muffin mix
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin will paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and butter. Whisk thoroughly. Add muffin mix, oats and milk. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter evenly into muffin wells.
4. Bake for 12-13 minutes.

Off to St. Kitts!

The day has finally arrived! VACATION HERE I COME!

I was up late last night packing for my weeklong vacation to St. Kitts (St. Kittens, as I like to call it). Then, was woken up by a loud alarm at 4am. It’s funny how much easier it is to wake up at ridiculous hours when it means your about to be on your way to the Caribbean!

I didn’t leave without saying goodbye to my favorite dessert as of late- Publix Strawberry Frozen Yogurt with some Cool Whip on top. I have been eating this every night for probably two weeks now. Seriously, I cannot get enough! I’m crossing my fingers to find a Publix in St. Kitts. Jusstttt kidding people. Any ice cream will do.

For the next week I will have very limited internet access, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come visit the blog! I have scheduled a couple (but not many) posts for you while I’m away. Feel free to comment so things don’t get too lonely around here.

Later Gators!

A Restaurant Review – Great Harvest Bread Co.

I didn’t do any grocery shopping this week because A) we were out of town all last weekend when I would normally do most of my shopping for the week, and B) we leave for vacation TOMORROW (!!!!!) and I didn’t want to be left with food that would go bad while we were away.

This resulted in a lot of eating out this week. Even though I saved grocery shopping money, we all know eating out can get expensive. I scrapped together what I already had at home as much as I could, but was still left needing some fresh produce in my life. Seriously, all I have left in my cabinets are boxed mac and cheese, peanut butter, and cake mix. Oh yeah, and sprinkles. 

I normally pack my lunch on work days, so I didn’t feel too guilty having to eat out a few days this week since it was such a rare occasion. I stuck to a few trusted places like Moe’s, Subway and Whole Foods, but I managed to try something different too.

After all of that bread talk last week, I was easily convinced to get myself back to Great Harvest Bread just like the good ole days.

I was in the mood for a big salad and remembered seeing a few on their menu when I last checked, although I had never looked too closely. There were only three options, but the Harvest Medley Salad sounded perfect. 
It was made up of candied pecans, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and parmesan cheese over a bed of chopped romaine. Right up my ally! The dressing options were fairly limited, so balsamic vinaigrette would have to do. 
This salad was SO good. See that? “So” in all caps? Yes. I’m emphasizing that word. And do you see how big it was? Maybe you can’t tell from the picture, but it was ginormous. I ate about half for lunch and proceeded to have the second half for dinner. Which really couldn’t have been more perfect, because I was able to eat a healthy dinner without having to spend more money on eating out! 

My “dessert” was this thick slice of cinnamon chip bread spread with a little cinnamon butter. It was so soft and delicious. I loved every last bite. 
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to try lunch from Great Harvest. I already knew how great the bread was, but the salad won my heart for good. 
I need to get back on track with packing lunches when I get back from vacation, but maybe I can afford to splurge a little more often for a lunch like this. 
Great Harvest Bread Company on Urbanspoon